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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 23, 2013 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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federal power has been tempted to overuse it. we must resist that temptation if we want to be a diverse movement, we must be a tolerant movement. the price of allowing conservative states to be conservative is a long liberal states to be liberal. collett federalism, call it constitutional, but we must make this fundamental principle a pillar of our agenda. and that brings us to our third guiding principle. once we eliminate policy privilege and restore political and policy diversity, we can start ensuring policy sustainability. once the federal government stops doing the things that it shouldn't come it can start doing the things it should. better. that means national defense and intelligence, federal law enforcement and the courts, immigration, intellectual
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property, and even the senior and other programs whose fiscal outlook threatens our future solvency and very survival. once we clear on a central policy from the books federal politicians will no longer be able to hide from the public or from their constitutional responsibilities and limitations. congress will be forced to work together to reform the problems government has greater and our health care system. we can reform and modernize of regulatory system. we will be forced to rescue our senior endowment programs in bankruptcy, and we can reform our tax system to eliminate the corporate codes, in favor of big businesses over small businesses, and individual codes of bias against saving, investing and especially against our parents, our ultimate investor class. that is how we turn the federal government unsustainable liabilities into sustainable assets. the bottom line of all of it is
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that controversies in that building over there, the really big white one with the dome, need to start doing what conservatives in this building already do, think long and hard about what we believe, why we believe it, and most of all remember to put first things first. for conservatives, the first thing is not our agenda of political subsidiary. it is our vision of social solidarity. it is a vision of society as and interwoven from and dependent network of individuals, families, communities, businesses, churches, formal and informal groups working together to meet each other's needs and enriched each other's lives. it is of a free market economy that grants everyone a fair chance and an unfettered start in the race of life. it is of a voluntary civil society that strengthens our commuters, protects the vulnerable, and minds the gaps
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to make sure no one gets left behind. and it is of a just tolerance and sustainable federal government that protects and complements free enterprise and civil society rather than presuming to replace them. this vision will not realize itself. the left, the inertia of the status quo, and the entire economy of this city stand a raid against it. realizing it will sometimes require conservatives to take on entrenched interests and policies and political third rail. many of these will be interests traditionally aligned with and financially generous to establishments within both political parties become sometimes it will require us to stand up for those that no one else will. the unborn child in the womb, the poor student in the failing school, the reformed father of my wishing in prison, the single
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mom trapped in poverty, and the splintering neighborhoods that desperately need all of them. but if we believe this vision is worth the american people being for, it's worth elected conservatives fighting for. what we are fighting for is not just individual freedom, but the strong, vibrant communities that free individuals all. the freedom to earn a good living and build a good life, that is what conservatives are for. thank you very much and may god bless america. [applause] >> we have time for questions. i believe there's a microphone wandered around, if you identify yourself. we will start directly in the back. >> high, senator lee.
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thank you so much for the talked. i'm curious about the use of language quality versus sustainability of these are words that typically are used with things lik like community. envoy to heard by people particularly in my generation, they really think of leftist policy, they think it's a standard and they think of bashing business. they hear it quality and they think the little sign on their friends facebook page. how can we use the slang which to redefine for sort of a mass culture? >> i think one way of explaining it is, it's not always about republican versus democrat or even left versus right. a lot of time its government versus the people. if we think of it in those terms in words like equality and diversity don't mean the same things. womewhen we make clear it's notl about government, we take a government centric society out of the equation and you point out that what we really want is the kind of outcome that can
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best be achieved, best be produced by voluntary free civil society and by a free market economy. people can understand what we are really for. what we are really for can best be achieved without excessive government interference and with minimal intrusion from the federal government. >> gordon johnson, retired business. we seem to gotten ourselves in a position quite of what you say of protecting the 1%, of really partaking in equality. is there, how do we translate the things you are saying into the benefits so the 40% at the bottom, which is what henry ford found in order to grow his business, and he needed customers continue to build up the 40% at the bottom. we seem to be protecting the 1% at the top.
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how do we translate -- what you're saying is really going to benefit the 40%, but how do we get that across to people? >> part of it is when we tried to remove the conversation from the exclusive domain of the federal government, it gets easier for people understand what it is we are really for. and it gets easier for people to understand that we are for everyone benefiting. that when you taken out of the equation and the governments mandatory approach to everything, it doesn't have to be a zero-sum game between this, you know, top percentage and that bottom percentage. we can all benefit and a dynamic 3-d economy. and so the minute that we start taking the conversation away from a washington, d.c. centered focus, i think it becomes easier for people to understand what we really want them which is for everyone to prosper.
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and for us to stop talking a government allocating special perks to this group or to that group. >> james with the heritage foundation. you mentioned social on to be no ship, this idea of sort of inkling of social impact the bottom line of your business. what do you see as the relationship between social entrepreneurship and the social welfare and also what do you see as the relationship between government and social on to be no ship? should government support it, invest in it vote unquote, or should it just sort of urgent language and stance on? >> that question essential to everything am trying to say, which is the best way that the government can support that kind of behavior is for government to establish neutral set of rules that govern everyone, a set of rules that is designed to create
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an environmental law and order rather than one of chaos. and then make sure that those rules are implemented in an evenhanded fashion so as not to advantage any particular business at the expense of another. that's the best way government can support that, and when government tries to go beyond that our promises to go beyond that, he usually ends up picking the winners and losers, and it becomes destructive to the free market economy. and to the interests of what we're trying to achieve through the free market economy and through robust free civil society. >> frances johnson, landing initiative. we have a challenge for us of gaming more of the general public's for at least a set of them who will see the wisdom,
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that we're talking about here, and if you will, support legislators, senators for congress who believe the same thing. now, away to a this circle may be to start with the indie game, tell some stories about particular people that have been benefited by the system. the father and children receives compassion and a fair process, a child in school who has been enabled to go through the sixth grade learning more because of the free school system, the entitlement since one. but starting with some examples,
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this is the way we know jesus made his philosophy known, and add that to our mix. we must cover the points that you have covered. there are compelling, but this will help put flesh on the bones and build this bigger. >> wonderful suggestion, thank you for that. >> [inaudible] >> i would add that this is something we've talked about also here at heritage. we are doing more, precisely to do that, to combine the research, the policy research which is the bedrock with those stories and get a sense of where the american people are, how they want to do that communicated to them through what we are calling the american perception project comes i think your absolute right. >> helps translate why these are not just abstract ideas.
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>> robert gladwell with -- just had a question on crony capitalism today. what are your thoughts on the internet -- [inaudible] usual collection of legislators who support it from certainly both sides of the aisle, the extreme left and certainly from the right also. >> i can't, i assume you're referring to the marketplace fairness act. i can't support that, and that's separate and apart from the fact that i have an ordinary rule that has we proceed to caution to any piece of legislation that that has the word fairness in it. [laughter] protesting too much. i can't support that. there are several reasons for it. some of them technical like there's an absence of any kind preemption provision so you can continue to have states were trying to expand their own reach
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as far as the nexus requirement contemplated under -- and so there's nothing to preempt out state action that could serve to try to extend this reach even further. at a broader level, i worry about federal legislation that allows states to make tax collection agents out of state businesses that are purposefully avail themselves to the benefits of doing business in the taxing jurisdiction. and, therefore, have no will to come no direct ability as a constituent. they have been put on the legislative decisions in that state. as for why there's such an eclectic and broad support base for, i don't know exactly what to make of the. i do understand many of the concerned that are animated. i've people in my home state of utah are supported, including several of our best state
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legislatures who has strong been behind this piece of legislation, and i certainly don't want to disparage them or the good intentions that they have but i just can't support. as far as how broad the support base would become it's difficult to say. there was fairly over one support, i can remember what the exact vocab was but one had a resolution on this in connection with the budget resolution, the number of senators voting for that, for this sort of proxy resolution, proxy enemy to the budget resolution was in the mid '70s i think it remains to be seen whether they would be that degree of support once we get on to the actual bill. >> hello. had christopher from heritage foundation to countries as to which qualities you would before, which help promote the commuters which we as conservatives want to foster? >> the single most important
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policy from which so many of the other things i talk about today would naturally flow would be federalism, or as i described it today, diversity. it's a regional political viewpoint diversity that we need to be focused on what would talk about federalism. which is that more people in america would get more of the kind of government they want and less of the kind of government that they don't want if they're free to make as many government related decisions of the most local of all possible. at least within their state or within the political subdivision of the state, like doctor level or city level. -- county level. that's the single best way we can get there.
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>> wanted to get your take or have you weigh in on whether the bombing suspect in boston should be tried or declared an enemy combatant? the number two, send a rand paul said that the immigration bill should be delayed until more details are none of the bombing. are you waiting on the? >> the second part was -- on what rand paul said that basically said immigration bill should be put on ice until we know more about what happened in boston to see if there holes in inthe system that allowed it to happen. >> okay. as to the second point, i don't necessarily agree that it needs to be one old for that. i do think we need immigration reform and i think it needs to proceed. so rand paul and i agree on most things, but as to the particular timing of the consideration of immigration legislation, i don't come on have to talk to him about the be don't personally see the need not to be holding
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committee hearings to examine this legislation that's been put forward. you know, in some ways what happened in boston this week is yet another reason for us to examine our current immigration system and figure out how best to reform it. a lot of good things in this bill. there are other things that i do not like, and but i think if you could separate out a lot of the different provisions in this bill, you would get a lot more support for it. instead of where the entire package hostage until there's political consensus necessary to pass all of it, let's start with the areas where there's broad-based bipartisan consensus, like in the areas dealing with border security, visa modernization, entry-exit system and so forth. wants those things have been enacted, once the sensor in place i think of both from the standpoint of political realities and from a standpoint of enforceability we will be in
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a better position to address the question of what to do with the 11 million. as to the suspect, it's important to point out here that some people think attempted to conflate two questions. when dealing with whether or not he is mirandized, in effect understand has not been mirandized. the other dealing with indefinite detention. those are not the same two questions. the fact that he apparently was not mirandized upon his arrest does not mean that he can't or should be detained indefinitely without trial. it simply as a practical matter for any criminal proceedings to mean that evidence gathered during that, during the period of that custodial interrogation will not be admissible in court. but it does mean that the government is going to or that it should detain them indefinitely without trial.
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my understanding is that he is a u.s. citizen, was apprehended on u.s. soil, and i'm not aware of any circumstances that i believe would warrant holding him indefinitely without trial. we do have a bill of rights, and i'm aware of no condition that is present that would give the government authority to get around that. if we want to come here, it will be interestiinteresti ng to see what arguments someone wants to invoke x. partaker at and argue that he is somehow subject to the exception identified in that case. i'm interested in the discussion but i'm not aware of anyone making that argument at this point. >> laura truly with heritage foundation. with regard to the debt limit i'm wondering what you personally think is really important for conservatives to
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see as part of any decision to increase the debt limit? >> excellent question, and it's very important for us to be think about these things. i feel very strongly that we need permanent structural spending reform come anytime we have to raise the debt limit. i feel so strongly about it that i wrote a book a couple years ago called the freedom agenda, why a balanced budget and than is necessary to restore constitutional government. a few hundred people have read that book since that was published i'm sure i will cry hot tears of joy as they did to them but they saw the one i believe is we shouldn't be raising the debt limit before put in place some kind of permanent structural mechanism. i have thought that each time the issue has come up so far and that is still my belief. is that you have to fix the underlying problem but one of the reasons why we got a credit rating downgrade about a year and half ago was because we
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raise the debt limit without putting in place robust permanent structural reform. i think that still what we need. >> i have a question about cronyism. a lot of these special favors that come out of, that our cronies take are the result of lobbying and doing their job and doing a good job. and these people have a first amendment right to petition the government for whatever favors that they won't. so my question is how do you neuter the ability of government cagovernmentto hand out these ss and still protect the rights of people to try to get them through the first amendment? >> it's not about the lobby us. it's about the people they are lobbying. the last time i checked
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lobbyists don't enact legislation. lobbyists are not in control of the levers of government. they might play a role in influencing those who are, but those are the people who need to be held accountable. in many respects lobbyists play a similar role within the legislative branch of government that lawyers play in, within the judicial branch. and they're both equally hated. [laughter] you know, i managed to go from one hated profession, practice of law, to another even more hated profession, a politician. and i especially hated brand a politician to be a member of congress. we, as members of congress, are less popular, we are less partners and the castro brothers, in america, not in cuba.
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less popular than a root canal procedure. i'm pretty sure we are still slightly more popular than the influence of virus but the virus is catching us. anyway, to get back to your question, people do have the right to be represented in court, and they also have a right to express their viewpoint to elected representatives in government, including those serving in the legislative branch of government. people will perhaps, people in my position like to blame lobbyists. lobbyists are not the problem. the problem is the people that are lobbying. if we don't like the decision coming out of washington, those are the people that we have to change but i do think there's a constitutional way in any event that we can just say lobbyists can't lobby. i don't know where you would draw the line. does that mean a citizen can't make a suggestion to a lawmaker? interfaces and can do it, why can a citizen retain the services of an intermediary? and every citizen can use of the
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services of an intermediary to speak for them, how could we block that? >> betty cooke, woman's republican club. about a week ago, and michel spoke at cato, and and she talked about one of the ideas and she talked about the fact that the democrats have captured the vocabulary of america so they have changed their name basically to progressives, which gives a very good feeling to those who are uneducated. and we, as conservatives are the
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true traditional liberals, but we have given up that terminology because it has other connotations. we call ourselves conservatives and we all understanunderstan d we are conserving our constitution and our way of life and so on, but the usage is a we're backwards. how do we turn this thing around and provide for the american people the understanding of the meaning of the vocabulary that is being used? >> it's a great question. so that really is the entire, or much of the entire purpose of my speech today, was to explain why it is and how it is that we need to move away from just talk about what we are against, to talking about what we are actually for. that we are actually for something, and that's something that we're after is in many
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respects at the end of the day, very similar to what others want. it's just the way that we want to get there is better, it's proven, it is work and it has worked well. in other words, will be want is for americans comes to be strong but we want them to prosper. we want them to be vibrant. we want and have economic opportunities to better their circumstances. and we think the very best way of doing that is to allow for a robust voluntary civil society to function within a free market economy. and if you allow those two things to happen, that's the condition in which we can flourish. it's important to remember that government can't create these voluntary institutions and civil society. it can't create them. at has the power to weaken them. house that are even to destroy them, once there destroyed a can't rebuild them, they can't re-create them. so that's why it's so important
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that we focus away from the washington centric government centered approach towards everything. and we explained what it is that we are actually for and then make the case as to why the way we propose to get there is the better one. and, in fact, the only one that will work. >> i think with that we're going to go ahead and cut it off. we are in favor of conserving america's liberal ideas, put them together. thank you for the great presentation. please join in thanking senator lee. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations] >> the senate is working on a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers, a proposal supported by the administration.
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one of the bill's sponsors is wyoming senator mike in c. his comments are next followed by finance committee chairman senator max baucus of montana said the bill should first go through his committee. >> i want to thank the senator from illinois, senator ben for his interest in his and his participation in this, his ability to explain it and the way that he is brought a lot of people along on helping out with this bill. he has been a great replacement and we made more progress than we ever had any of the 14 years of working on the bill are i thank him for that and his ability to explain things so clearly. i also want to thank senator lamar alexander, who helped us to change this bill in the last year from about an 80 page bill
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to an 11 page bill and made it states right. as senator durbin so eloquently explained, is state action by the state, this is just to clear up the quill case that made a little bit confusing about whether they could charge tax or not, and then challenge congress to fix the problem. the solution is that senator alexander came up with condensed the bill down considerably and i think made it a lot easier but it made it a states right issues of the states have to take some action. i thank senator heitkamp as well. she has been new to the bill but has more years of experience than anybody, because she was a part of the quill case when it came out. she was representing north dakota in that case, and that's the other side of the case. and so she can explain the intricacies of that and the challenge that we were given,
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which had a number of reasons why it didn't happen earlier. one of the reasons is that 20 years ago the internet was in its infancy, and nobody knew what its capability for going to be. most people didn't even know it was out there. and that's changed over quite a bit of time to what is now one of the handy tools that everybody uses, and we have come to recognize that there are apps available there that will answer any question, and there are sources of information that will provide us with what we need to know on virtually any subject. i think that has put an cycle these out of this is but it's made information more readily available desperate encyclopedias. is made products available that people didn't have availability before. but is creating a bit of a dilemma that marketplace fairness straightens out, and today we're scheduled to vote on the motion to proceed to the
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bill at 5:30, an i just don't encourage my colleagues to vote yes and let me explain why. as senator durbin and i have been working on the sales tax or does asia since joining the senate in 1997, and i may have the unique perspective on the dozens of proposals that have been introduced. for instance, i worked in sales tax from a number of different aspects. i worked in sales tax issue when i was in the wyoming legislature. and i do know that when the legislators are considering sales tax, they didn't intend to discriminate against the people that are in the communities, that hired the people in the temerity is to pay the property tax to the communities that participate in all community events. and they definitely didn't anticipate that they were going to be the source where people can come in and feel, try on the
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product, and then check the barcode with a cell phone, that's one of those advances that's been made not in the internet use, and then they find out that there's a lower price, which usually based on no sales tax. i'm pleased that some businesses across the nation have said that isn't there and they decided to voluntarily to the sales tax, and there is no problem with them doing that. i've also been a retailer so i know that, that feeling of having, my wife and i had shoe stores so i know the feeling, again, that the senator from illinois described, people coming in, trying to dr. feely it, making sure it was the right size, and then checking to see where else it's available it and it is discouraging with a sales tax is what the differences. as a former small business owner i believe it's important to level the playing field for all
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retailers. the answer, the catalog in the online. so an outdated rule for sales tax collection doesn't adversely impact particularly small business and main street retailers. i know a lot of your books would ever be published if it wasn't for the support of some of the local businesses. thousands of local businesses are forced to do business at a competitive disadvantage because they have to collect sales tax and use tax and the remote sellers don't. in some states that can mean five to 10% price disadvantage. we should not be subsidizing some taxpayers at the expense of others. all businesses and the retail sales should be treated equally. now, as a former mayor i know that sales taxes go to state and local governments, which brings in needed revenue for maintained schools, fixing a roads, supporting law enforcement, fire protection, first responders
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that we are always so conscious of, particularly today and for the last week. if congress to fails to offer states to collect tax on remote sales and electronic commerce continues to grow, we are implicitly blessing the situation where states will be forced to raise other taxes such as income or property taxes, offset the growing loss of tax revenue to do we want that to happen? i don't think the. we need to protect -- commode economic growth, not stifle. now, as the supreme court identified in quill versus north dakota decision in 1992, the quill decision challenged congress to come up with a better system, a way of making it fair. the local brick-and-mortar retailers collect sales tax while many online and catalog retailers are exempt from clicking the same taxes as a result of that case. that was based on whether they had a nexus, nexus has changed
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dramatically since that time. that you to be we could go and actually pick up something. but now it's where you can order something, and i can even move around the country virtually at will. so if we designated some states as not having to do it, websites can be set up in that state for people to sell through from anywhere. so taxes need to be collected. it needs to be fair, and right now it's not only fundamentally unfair to main street retailers, but it's costing states and localities billions in lost revenue. the supreme court invited congress to address this issue, and we stalled. now, we know that early on the internet was new, and now everything is done by the internet. so now is the time for congress to act, and many americans don't realizrealize that when they buy online or order something from a catalog from a business outside of their own state, they still owe the sales tax.
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i know from being a legislator but that was part of what we put in place, and there is a form in wyoming that you can get to fill out and do your tax from desperate hard to keep track of it, particularly on smaller items, easier on big items but i do know that there are about three people to comply with that. so for over a decade congress has been debating how to best allow states to collect sales tax from the online retailers. iin a way that puts mangy businesses just on a level playing field with the online retailers. so on february 14, 2013 the bicameral, both house and senate here, bipartisan republicans and democrats put together a marketplace fairness act that was to close the loophole that distorts. >> a market place by picking winners and losers by subsidizing some businesses in defense of other businesses come in subsidizing taxpayers at the
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expense of other taxpayers. all businesses in the retail sales and all consumers and their purchases should be treated equally. the bill also empowers the states to make the decisions themselves. this is not congress saying what has to be done, whether they collect them or not. if they choose to collect already existing sales tax and all parts of purchases, regardless of whether the sale was online or in store, states will be able to if this bill passes. if they want to keep things the way they are, that's the state's choice. that's why this bill is a states' rights bill. the marketplace fairness act does not tax internet use. it does not tax internet services, and it does not raise taxes. it gives states the right to collect what's owed by the purchasing individual. some argue that the bill is
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disguised attempt to great taxes. it is not. consumers already supposed to pay taxes and use taxes. in most states for purchases made over the phone, by mail or by way of the internet. i know that in a couple of minutes that we're going of a moment of silence for the tragic events that happened, and so i would yield the floor for the time to be able to do that. >> [inaudible] >> without objection. >> [silence]
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>> [silence] >> order. they will not be a moment of silence to honor the victims of the bombings in boston, massachusetts. [silence]
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>> mr. president, i want to thank the leader for that moment of silence. i hope that everybody in america will keep the people of boston, particularly those who were injured or those who lost family members, or those who saw the pain of the tragedy, they will keep them in their prayers, and i would hope that we would keep all the people across america that witnessed that on television or saw the replays of it on television, that we would
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keep them in our prayers and hope that the recovery will bring americans together, as happened in 9/11. so, too, -- so to return to the discussion on marketplace fairness i mentioned that most consumers are unaware that they're supposed to pay a tax on purchases that the retailer does not choose to collect at the time of the purchase. 's i want to provide some highlights of what that marketplace fairness act actually a colleges. the bill gives the states the right to decide to collect or not to collect taxes that are already owed. the legislation would simplify and streamline the country's more than 9000 the first state tax jurisdiction and provides two options by which states could begin collecting sales
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taxes from online and catalog purchases. the bill also carves out small businesses so that they won't be adversely affected by the new law, by exempting the businesses with less than $1 million in online or out of state sales from the collection requirement. when they've had more than a million dollars worth of sales, and a small business exemption will protect small merchants and give new businesses time to get started. and as has been mentioned, when they need -- when they meet that level they have to be provided with a program that will do the calculations for them, provide for submitting the revenues, and also hold them harmless for any errors that might be in the program. so don't let the critics get away with saying that this certification can't be done. the different tax rates in jurisdictions are no problem for today's software programs. when you order something online,
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you have to put in your zip code. zip code will tell what the tax is for whatever jurisdiction you live in. so as a former american state legislator, i strongly favor allowing states the authority, states the authority to require sales and use tax collection from retailers on all sales, for each state that chooses to do so. we need to eliminate land that will allow states to collect revenue using mechanisms already approved by their local leaders. we need to allow states the ability to collect the sales taxes they already require. if enacted it would find a price for $23 billion in fiscal relief for states for which congress does not have defined an offset. this would give states less of an excuse to come knocking at the federal door for handouts and will reduce the problem of federally attached strings. a lot of people don't realize that the federal government is out of money, and that's shown
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by what was done through the sequestered because the federal government usually pays property tax to states and localities that have federal property. and that amount has never been equaled to what other people would be paying in their property tax, but it has been a show of good faith that they recognize that the government there, that there is a loss of revenue and that the federal government should do something. so that is a tax level that they've been paying. it hasn't gone up much. and it hasn't gone down much, until the sugar and then as part of the sequestered, decided that they would withhold five and three-tenths of all of the state and all of the local government. that is called payment in lieu of taxes, and that's one way that the states and the counties have lost money and a way they're going to have to make up
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for it if that continues. but it is also the possibility that the revenues they taken from this can reduce something like property tax. so for me as i've worked with all the interested parties to find a mutually agreeable legislative package to introduce and ultimately enacted into public law. this year centers turbine, again, i can't and i worked together with 25 of our bipartisan senate colleagues to produce a bill that assist sellers and state and local governments to civil lifetime and use collection and administration. we're working with the house supporters which would be represented steve womack, jackie speer, peter welch and john conyers, and have found common ground on this important issue to move forward with a bipartisan, bicameral bill in this congress. i want to publicly commend all of my senate and house colleagues in taking a leadership role and working on this important issue their
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marketplace fairness act is about states' rights and it's about fairness on the budget bill. we had a vote on this and i was very pleased with the 75 of the 100 senators voted in favor of making the marketplace fair. so i strongly encourage my colleagues to vote for the motion to proceed on s. 703, the market place fairness act, tonight at 5:30 will have the full. i am hoping to duplicate what they did before and support the goals of states' rights and the level plainfield for all businesses. >> i rise today to urge the senate not to move forward on the marketplace fairness act. this bill forces small businesses across the country to spend time and resources they should be using to raise jobs, jumping through new bureaucratic hoops. in montana it forces are small businesses to play tax collector for other states with absolute
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no benefit to them. instead of slapping more red tape our small businesses, we need to be supporting their great jobs and get the economy going. let me be very clear. let me be even more clear. let me be very clear. this bill is bad for business and bad for jobs. this bill is not ready for debate on the senate floor. it has not been completely thought through. it is full of unintended consequences that could seriously harm america's small businesses. supporters of the marketplace fairness act claim this bill would level the playing field between main street businesses and out of state businesses by forcing both to collect sales taxes from customers. the bill sponsors claim this is quote there. the reality, however, if this legislation is anything but fair to america's small businesses.
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the legislation doesn't help businesses expand or hire more employees. instead it forces small businesses to hire expensive lawyers and accountants to deal with the burdens and paperwork and the added complexity of tax rules and filings across multiple states. our vantage -- this is a big box bill. this is not a downtown bill. our downtowns are in a crisis. we must find ways to revitalize main streets across america by supporting our small retailers. in doing so we foster economic growth and job creation in our communities. let me just read you one of the hundreds of letters i've received from small business owners in montana and across america who are opposed to this legislation. dear senator baucus, at a time when it economy is just recovering, depending internet
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sales tax legislation will cause -- cost small businesses, that's really important if you want to delete the commerce, continuing on the other, as you know the largest private employer in cleveland county. we expect this legislation to cost 13-20 jobs in one of the poorest counties in the united states were jobs mean everything. rather than reporting the thousands of small businesses with innovation, hard work of congress will be taxing the job engine o of the economy reducing jobs across the nation. there are mom and pop businesses across the country asking for our help. i forgot this bill does not provide that help. it will not solve the challenges facing main street. instead the marketplace fairness act only creates new challenges that will put many of america's small businesses at a disadvantage. this bill imposes additional
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burdens and businesses already weighed down by federal and state tax systems that are too complex, too time-consuming, and too costly. i encourage my colleagues to look at this bill very closely. it requires americans businesses to attract thousands of different -- if they do online business out of state. look at this bill closely. it will force small businesses to hire expensive accounts and implement costly systems to do with the complexity of collecting sales taxes on purchases made in other states. and who is policing all of this? the bill as written has no author or enforcement protection. as a result it opens a small businesses to an aggressive out of state tax collectors. states will be taxing businesses
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beyond their borders. this bill helps states target those businesses that are truly operating out of state and subjects them to the same broken sales tax systems that are currently in place. now tell me, how does this go our economy and how does this create jobs? the promises of simplification and the marketplace fairness act are areas. first of all they provide no supplication to the businesses that already collecting sales taxes in multiple jurisdictions. those businesses are not even considered in this bill. they are left out. second, the bill offers no real supplication for the business and will not be required to collect sales tax. it only adds complexity with no resources for guidance. this bill does not streamline the 7500 different tax rates.
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it does not require the states to agree on definitions of taxable and exempted products are think of that for a moment. each state in many cities and municipalities have different definitions of what -- and what products are exempt if they are all different. it has not established and requirements for electronic filings. think of that for a moment. no standard requirements for electronic filing. it has not stopped a central location for registration for filing. it does not offer here for forms or paperwork. and the list goes on. this is just a few of the problems that this bill is going to create. even more concerning this bill does not established one audit system for all states. rather, businesses would exposed to audit by all 50 states. so any state can decide at any
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time that wants to audit the business beyond its borders. this bill does not establish any rules or procedures for dispute resolution. got a problem with the tax collector in a state across the country? good luck. you have to work it out in that state's court system. the cosponsors tell us not to worry. they see the computer software can calculate the sales taxes owed, collect the money too, filed reports with states by linking to the seller's website. is offering a business the chance to be someone else, to try to their taxes for some litigation. in those software providers cannot protect businesses from exposure to audits, collection and enforcement by 50 different states. still worried? well, the bill's cosponsors tell stable except businesses that
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have $1 million or less. why this threshold? studies show that the burden of collecting sales taxes on the very smallest are the highest. it cost approximately 10% of the tax collected for these small sellers to comply. as a result of there not a profitable tax collectors for the state. what about the business of 1 million, and 1 dollar in sales? are they somehow a more efficient tax collector? these are not just empty theories. businesses call me exasperated with the current state law collection requirements. last friday, i received a call from the director of a farmers cooperative. he said many states exempt farmers from sales tax on certain goods. but the laws vary greatly by state on what items qualify for
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exceptions. businesses selling to farmers already spent a lot of time determining what qualifies for extension of what is to. they spend more time tracking exemption certificates. he went on to say and i quote him, if this act becomes law, it appears that original agribusiness which might occasionally make internet sales to farmers in states outside of their territory would have to invest just as much time and effort instead in compliance with the sales tax laws of the far-flung states as it does and a half dozen states has facilities. continuing on he says, the burden of such compliance would truly outweigh the benefits of occasional sales, end quote. this legislation is right for unintended consequences. let me give you another example. i.t. loophole in this bill that is states get to decide what is and what is not taxable. a state could decide that stock
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trades are taxable goods or services. again when that stays resident purchases shares through his broker, that wall street firm will be responsible for registering as a business, collecting sales tax and remitting the tax to the state. the state decides. true, states have authority to decide what is and isn't taxable today. even without this bill. right now the only way to collect taxes on items on out of state businesses is to reduce taxes. if the states could never acquire out of state businesses to collect on their behalf, there is an incentive to expand the items that are taxable. this bill is going to make it very desirable for states to start taxing, collecting all sorts of services, not just the financial world but in services provided by attorneys or architects or engineers and
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accountants. one could only imagine. by not asking the states to do is invisible by the system return for the benefit of having out of state this is collect taxes for them, we are getting a carte blanche to states to impose even more taxes on businesses. the act is also an abdication of responsibly given to congress under the commerce clause. we, we here have the duty to recognize that state sales tax systems are still too complicated and the burden interstate commerce is imposed on more businesses. the finance committee is committed to tackling these issues to provide real relief to america's families and small businesses. we have held more than 30 hearings on tax reform, including one specifically dedicated to state tax issues such as the marketplace fairness act. i repeat do. we've had a hearing on this bill, and i affirmed repeatedly to senators in c. and driven to
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the finance committee would work with them to mark up the bill in the next work trade and stated that commitment just a few moments ago personally to them. mr. president, i asked to proceed for just two more minutes. >> without objection. >> i thank the chair. circumventing the committee, allow this bill to come to the floor full of so many unanswered questions. afford in the committee process quashes any chances of approving this bill. denies the chance to provide a fair playing field among businesses are reduce the heavy burden imposed by state compliance. i know some may dismiss my concerns just commit from a non-sales tax state. granted i'm always proud to protect montana businesses, but this is not a montana only issue. nor is it an issue just for the states without sales tax is your
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main street business owners across america show their interests are tied together. we need to stop burdening america's small businesses with more compliance costs to figure out ways to help them grow. i urge you to vote against, do not give small businesses in your state more regulations and more risks, more unintended consequences have not been addressed. do not set your main street businesses out to be audited by other states tax collectors. i urge you to vote against it. so we can do so. i yield the floor. >> sender max baucus on the senate floor yesterday and we're just learning that this will likely be his final term in the senate. reid wilson from hotline tweeting this morning that senator max baucus plans to retire rather than seek reelection. that also from the "washington post" today. the u.s. senate will gavel and
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starting with an hour of general speeches in just a moment. after that lawmakers will continue working on the measure they debated yesterday allowing states to collect sales taxes him online retailers that are located outside the state's borders. and now for live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, the light for thoe who know you and the security fr those who love you, you formed s in your image and likeness. help us, therefore, to live as children of your kingdom. may we not squander our inheritance of faith, integrity, love, humility, and perseverance
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in a far country of waste. empower us instead, o god, to live worthy of your name. use our lawmakers to do your will. may they remember not only to serve the haves but also the have-nots: the hungry, the homeless, the persecuted, the voiceless, and the powerless. fill our senators with compassion, so that they will glorify and honor you. we pray in your marvelous name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., april 23, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable william m. cowan, a senator from the commonwealth of massachusetts, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. chairman, following leader remarks, the senate will be in a pared of morning business for one hour. the majority will control the first half, the republicans the final half. following that morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to the marketplace fairness act. at 12:30 today until 2:15, we'll
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be in a recess to allow for our weekly caucus meetings. mr. president, yesterday evening a number of senators missed votes, and we -- as we've talked about here a number of times and we've become somewhat complace complacent, we have votes 15 minutes, and we extend it for five minutes. and we've extended that time, mr. president, for a long period of time. because muc of procedural things around here in the senate, i had to terminate that vote before 6:00 in an effort to save a full day of legislative business. it is obvious there's 30 hours following that cloture vote, wasted time -- i've talked about it before. but there was no reason whatsoever that we went into wednesday rather than tuesday. so i apologize -- i don't apologize. everyone here has to understand
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that there are certain things we have to do around here. and we've -- we have been somewhat lax in enforcing the length of votes. it is very, very unfair to people who vote and have other things to do to wait for others before the vote is terminated. so i understand how important it is for people to do their votes, but also it's also important to get our business done here. i repeat, had we not terminated that vote before 6:00, then we would have kicked this over until wednesday before cloture could be filed on the bill. i don't know if i've going to file cloture on the bill today, but at least i have the opportunity to do that. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that yo augustus el oovt n b -- elan be allowed allowed e
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senate floor for the remainder of the calendar year. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid:man, we've heard speeches here and the house is always talking about regular order and they've done this many different places but especially where the budget process is concerned. they complained for two years that we didn't pass a budget, even though there was a law that we passed that gave us that budget numbers. but they still came and talked about our needing to do a budget resolution. i repeat, we didn't do a budget resolution because we had enacted a budget with the force of law, a bill the president side. the resolution, the president doesn't even sign that. this year, i repeat, the republicans again requested we take up a budget resolution. until 5:00 in the morning we took vote after vote on amendment after amendment, more than 100 votes, and in the
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understand we passed a budget -- and in the end we passed a budget resolution without a single republican vote in the affirmative. after giving the republicans what they said they wanted -- regular order -- countless votes and passage of a budget resolution, a strange thing happened: house republicans did a complete 180, they flipped. they're no longer interested in regular order, even though they preached that for years. they don't want to go to conference and work things out. they don't even want to name conferees. it seems house republicans don't want to be seen discussing even the possibility of compromise with democrats. for fear that there will be a tea party revolt. but that's not a good reason to run away from budget negotiations. in fact, it is ridiculous. today i will ask consent to name conferees so we can have a budget conference to try to work things out. i hope, even though i doubt, my
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republican colleagues in the senate won't object for the sole purpose of a cover for the house republican colleagues, which are certainly directed and guided by the tea party folks over there. if the republicans are serious about reducing the deficit, we need to get to work. get to work sooner rather than later. what is regular orde order? it means do things the way you're supposed to, by the book, so to speak. so i'm g going to ask that const soon. mr. president, let's talk about sequestration just for a brief timtime. i talked about it yesterday when the senate convened. on sunday the federal aviation administration implemented sequester furloughs that will affect tens of thousands of employees. and by monday, yesterday, travelers were already experiencing delays at airports from coast to coast. according to "the wall street journal," flights to new york airports were delayed more than an hour already because of these furloughs.
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delays were also reported in los angeles and even baltimore. the f.a.a. has assured us things will get much worse before the end of the busy summer travel season as these arbitrary sequester cuts continue to affect airport staffing levels. what it means is that every two weeks all f.a.a. employees will have to take a day off. at peak travel times, almost 7,000 flights will be delayed every day, some of them by up to three hours. now, mr. president, the worst day we had last year because of weather-related issues, less than 3,000 flights were delayed. now every day more than twice that number will be delayed. these delays will be bad for business, this'l they'll be frug for families and devastate forge the economy. but flight delays around the
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only consequences of these unintended cuts. it is not just f.a.a. employees. it will affect 750,000 jobs across the country. it will shred the safety net that keeps millions of seniors, children, veterans, and needy families from falling through the cracks. and it'll gut investment in education, medical research, that helps america compete in the 21st century. more than 2,700 schools with large numbers of disadvantaged children will see their federal funding slashed. 70,000 little boys and girls will not be able to do the head start programs. these cuts will put 10,000 classroom jobs at risk, and they'll eliminate extra help that closes the achievement gap for 1.2 million underprivileged students. more than 7,200 teachers and classroom aides who work with children with disabilities will lose their jobs because of the sequester. and 33,000 college students will lose their work study jobs. this means, mr. president, like i was a janitor for part of the
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time i went to school. it helped me pay my tuition. things have changed over the years, but these work jobs -- i'm sorry, these jobs are still important, very important. they call them study jobs. putting the dream of higher education further out of republic for poor students if we keep this sequester going. families and businesses in every state will feel the pain of sequester whether they fly or don't fly. but congress could act now to reverse these cuts without adding a single dollar to the deficit. we can use the savings from wrapping up military operations in iraq and fan a void the full brunt of these ash administer cuts. right now there's about $650 billion in that fund. we could erase the sequester for the rest of the year, which is a fraction of the savings from winding down these two wars. using these savings, congress could avert the most painful and
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senseless sequester cuts, cuts to the f.a.a. and the programs that get homeless veterans off the street, fund research and provide meals to needy seniors. i hope crisis from citizens at airports will reach my republicans. mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 33, h. con. res. 25. talethat's the budget resolutio. all after the enacting clause be stricken and that the amendment at the desk, text of s. con. res. 8, by the senate, u being inverted in lieu thereof, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, that the national insist on its amendment, request a conference with the house, and the disagreeing votes of the two houses and the chair be authorized a point conferees on
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the part of the senate with senators -- with ...
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mr. reid: mr. president, continuing with my unanimous consent request -- with the appointment of the budget conferees being on the ratio of seven democrats to five republicans, and there be no intervening action or debate on my request. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. toomey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, the ranking member of the senate budget committee, senator sessions, is not available because he has a conflict at the moment. on his behalf, i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
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under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour with senators permitted to speak therein for up ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the majority controlling the first half. the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that senator too many chick recognized for up to four minutes. following his remarks, that the senator from north dakota, senator heitkamp, be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. toomey: thank you, mr.
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president. i thank the majority leader. i feel the need to respond to the comments from the leader about the sequester that has gone into effect. and i want to be very, very clear about this. the flight delays that are occurring, the furloughs among air traffic controllers, the shutting down of air traffic towers is entirely utterly this is a willful choice being made by this administration in order to inflict as disruptive a process as possible on the american public and on our economy all to further a political agenda. and the political agenda is to try to convince the american people that there are no circumstances under which we can ever cut spending at all. now if you question why i say that this is a willful decision on the part of the this administration, i would refer you to legislation that senator inhofe and i offered prior to the beginning of the sequestration. that legislation, as you may
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recall, mr. president, would have granted to the administration complete flexibility in how they achieve the savings of the sequester. what we hear from the administration, administration officials and white house spokes people, what we hear is that this is terribly unfortunate, but they have no choice. they have no alternative. the law requires that they make these cuts. but when senator inhofe and i introduced legislation to explicitly grant them all the flexibility they could ask for -- complete flexibility to find the most wasteful, most redundant, most unnecessary programs, and to cut there instead of cutting essential services -- what did the administration say? they said if you send us that legislation, we'll veto it. they put out a statement of administrative policy, insisting that this was a terrible idea, a terrible idea to give them the flexibility to avoid exactly what they're doing. mr. president, i don't know how one can come to any conclusion
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other than this administration wishes to impose this inconvenience, this disruption and this cost on the american people and our economy because they had it within their ability to accept the device that we were offering which would have allowed them to avoid this entirely. i am extremely disappointed that the administration would choose to inflict this kind of harm to our economy, this kind of inconvenience to our travelers all for the purpose of furthering a political agenda. this is no way to run this government. i would suggest what we do is we revisit the legislation that senator inhofe and i had offered which would have avoided all of this, which would have allowed us to cut some of this waste and some of the being ses and some of the -- some of the excess and some of the duplication and avoided all of this inconvenience. this is entirely unnecessary, mr. president, and it is unacceptable. one of the proper functions of
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any executive, including the president of the united states, is to look throughout the spending over which he or she has control to find the lowest priority, to find the least necessary, to find the least disruptive way to achieve the savings that we need. we are running an unacceptably large deficits. we have a huge debt that is already costing this economy the kind of growth that we ought to be having. the very modest savings of the sequester to be achieved in a way that wouldn't be disruptive at all. we have a federal budget that has more than doubled in size in the last 12 years. to suggest that it's not possible to find 2.5% savings is simply ridiculous, and it's not true. so i would urge my colleagues, let's fix this. we know how to do it. we have the tools available. senator inhofe and i offered, there are other ways and i would be open to any number of them. but we need to achieve the savings of the sequester and need to do it in a way that's not disruptive. thank you, mr. president.
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i yield the floor. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: las vegas is the destination resort of the world. we may get a little static from new york about that, but it is a place where a lot of people want to go. we understand the importance about doing something about the lines at the airports as a result of sequestration. i'm also concerned about the little boys and girls who are knocked off head start. 70,000 of them. mr. president, i'm also concerned about medical research. duke university, i talked about yesterday, they're laying off 50 people who do some of the most important medical research there is: dealing with dread disease. i'm concerned about homeless veterans. the program will eliminate homeless veterans having a home. that's what sequestration does to them.
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so, mr. president, the reason that sequester is taking effect is because congress enacted it in law, budget control act 2011 the vast majority of republicans voted for this. the senate considered an alternative that would have altered the sequester but republicans blocked that earlier this year. now, mr. president, we need to lessen the impact of sequestration. it's not as if we're blind to doing something about deficit reduction. we've already reduced the debt by $2.6 trillion. so i would hope that my republican colleagues, including my friend from pennsylvania, who has a reputation for being very concerned about things dealing with money -- and i admire him for it, his tenaciousness in that regard.
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but, mr. president, what i've suggested here certainly seems reasonable that for five months that we just do a time-out on sequestration and that we during the five months, sequestration would be paid for with part of that $650 billion that was in a pot that is as a result of the money that is there because of reducing the wars in iraq and afghanistan. during these five months let's figure out a better way to go forward with our efforts to reduce the debt. i think that's reasonable, would be fair and give us time to do something. certainly with the debt ceiling coming up and other major issues that we have to deal with here, i think we should lessen not only the impact of the problems we have at airports around america, but also, mr. president, we also should have to focus on -- i repeat --
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little boys and girls, old men and women who are losing meals on wheels, their only hot meal of the day. so i think we should do that, mr. president, look at this sequestration, take a time-out. i would now recognize that my friend from north dakota is going to give her maiden speech, and we're all anxious to hear what she has to say. mr. heitkamp: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. heitkamp: first off, i want to thank all of my colleagues who came here today to watch my perform my first, or offer my first speech on the floor of the united states senate. it's a great group, and it's a bipartisan group, and i think that our new class is exactly that. a group of great people who are very bipartisan and very willing to work to solve america's problems. and i'm proud to be part of this
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freshman class of the united states senate. you know, people here all think that they know each other and that's absolutely true. but sometimes it's a good reminder to tell people about where you come from. and i want to just spend a little bit of time talking about where i come from, because i think it speaks a lot to what i believe and how i will vote and who i am. i blew up in a small town in north dakota -- i grew up in a small town in north dakota. you all might think that's 90,000 people. no, it's 90 people. my family was one-tenth the population of that town. when i was born my mother had four kids and the oldest was two and there were no twins. by the time my parents were done having children, there were seven children in nine years. my dad was a seasonal construction worker and my mom was a school cook and a janitor.
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think about that. seasonal construction worker and a school cook and a janitor. it's interesting because my mom was someone who never let anyone be bullied. the worst thing you could do in my mother's eyes was pick on somebody who couldn't defend themselves. and we knew that's what our role would be in our entire life. that's a value we carry with us, me and my six siblings. from my dad, we learned about community and about building community. my dad built the smallest v.f.w. chapter in the country. came back from world war ii, knew they needed a place to gather, to provide support for the veterans and support for each other, and that needed to be in his community. he built a ballpark. he built, you know, the fire hall; made sure it was chief of the volunteer fire department for years and years, head of the v.f.w., someone who really believed in community and believed when mrs. poster needed
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her sidewalk shoveled so she could go to church, that was our job. it wasn't somebody else's job. you didn't look around to see who was going to come. you picked up the shovel and you went down. and so, i think what do you learn from the place you grew up in? in manitor, north dakota, like communities across this country, people gather at coffee tables maybe 7:00 or 10:30 in the morning, maybe a little bit in the afternoon, and they talk about the problems of america. they talk about the problems of their community. and there is all ideologies at that table. there is democrats and republicans, as we say in man manador, hraougt -- lutherans and catholic. they gather together and solve all the problems if we would
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only listen here in washington, d.c.. even though they have horrible fights, they get together and they solve problems in their community. they figure out how to put up the christmas lights on main street. they figure out how to fix the roof on the church, how to get a school bond passed so they can expand classrooms. all across america people work together. and that's the spirit. that's what i learned growing up in a small town in north dakota, that we can accomplish things if we keep our eye on the goals, if we understand and appreciate that we all come from different places and that we all need to work together and that sometimes we are not going to agree, but we need to move forward. we need to work together to move this country forward. and so i want to just take a moment and hopefully i won't get too emotional, but i want just to think about this, that we live in a country, an amazing country where the daughter of a
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school cook and janitor and a seasonal construction worker can stand on the floor of the united states senate and address this body. it's an amazing country, and we can never forget that value. but i never thought i'd be here. what do i mean by that? i never thought that i would come to the united states senate. you know why? because i had senator conrad and i had senator dorgan, and these are two giants who came to this body, spoke their mind, represented their state. and i knew they'd always represent me. always. and then something happened. they got tired, frustrated, and they moved on with their life, and they asked me to join this fight, the fight for north dakota and the fight for our values. they asked me to step into their shoes. and i'm extraordinarily proud to be here, extraordinarily proud to represent agriculture. what do i mean by that? you know, we've got frustration
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in farm country. 16 million jobs in agriculture, it is the bright spot on our economy. it is adding to reducing our trade deficit. it is everything in my state. it is everything in my state. and you know what? we have small farmers, small family farmers who have to spend $1 million before they can even take a crop out of the ground. that's an average farmer in my state. that's how much it costs to engage in farming. and when we don't have a farm bill that provides some certainty, some security for them, we not only hurt them and hurt american agriculture, we risk our secure food supply. so i came here to speak for north dakota farmers. i came here to speak for an energy policy. you know, it's an amazing place here. you hear everybody say we believe in all of the above. and in north dakota we do all of the above. we not only are rich in natural gas and oil and coal, but we
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also have geothermal. we do ethanol, we do biofuels. we're one of the leading producers in this country of wind energy. we get it. but policies in this body and in this city need to be established that provide certainty to our energy producers. i'm here to address the concerns that we may not have if we don't have policies that address issues of redundancy and reliability in energy, we will fall further and further behind. and these are new technologies. they are great innovations that are coming down the pike. we need to address those. we need to move forward. i came here to talk about reasonable fiscal solutions. we just heard a debate, a good debate about the effects of sequestration. we know we have challenges. on both sides of the aisle there is a sense of purpose to change the trajectory of this debt. we are spending -- we are
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borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. we have a national debt that is almost equal to our gross domestic product. we have interest payments that are the third-highest payment that we make here, and that's at a time of record-low interest rates. this is unsustainable, and it needs to be addressed but i think it needs to be addressed responsibly. and so, like many of you, i have my own personal passions, and they involve senior citizens, making sure that we provide them with a secure future. but also a secure future for future senio senior citizens. veterans care deeply about the condition of veterans benefits and what we're going to do to reward and thank -- truly thank the 1 nuclear thi% in this couns up. i have a great concern for people living in indian country. what are we going to do to make sure that he enjoy a future in
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our state in you take every problem of america and multiply it by three and that's the problems in indian country. i care about head start. i believe a head start investment is a smart investment. so you might wonder with all of these concerns and issues why i'm standing today to talk about marketplace fairness? you're going to hear a lot about a case. it is called quill v. north dakota. what you don't know is probably that cakes the whole caption is "quill v. north dakota xk heidi heitkamp." i heard the despair of main street businesses. i had a woman who came to me -- she had a little wallpaper shop in her town. at the time you had to buy these wallpaper books from the companies. so it was an investment in presenting this product.
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and people would come to he had and they would open up the book and she'd help them do a little interior design. she'd work through the fabrics and work through all of this and then they walk out and she never saw them begin. and she knew what i knew what they did as they went home, took hathat lot number she had give inthem and they ordered it on internet. but she wanted to know from me when i was tax commissioner how i could justify a 5% disadvantage that she was having. she wanted to know what i could do to level the playing field so that she at least had a chance. she at least could compete. well, i listened, and it wasn't just that woman who ran the wallpaper business. it was the furniture stores, the main street office supply stores and we initiatived a lawsuit called quill. for those of you who think this is going to unduly burden small business, i want to think about this.
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in my state, why we sued quill is they were the third-highest retailer of office products. in my entire state, third highest. it is pretty remarkable, but yet they were enjoying this advantage of not having to collect sales tax. you know, so we took the case to the supreme court, and some would say, that didn't turn out very well for you. and i'll tell you kind of some basic information about the court case because at the time there was a sense that there was not due process jurisdiction if you didn't have physical contacts in your state. now, we all know -- a lot of us are lawyers in this body -- that the long-arm statutes at the time have moved on. the question was what in fact would be the contact and could we in tax jurisdiction and in sales tax collection get the court to agree that due process was not disturbed by an extension of regulation and
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responsibility to internet sales and, at the time, catalog sellers. the court agreed with that piece but when they were challenged with the argument that did north dakota's imposition affect interstate commerce and they heard a lot of arguments that you're going to hear today -- a lot of jurisdictions, it is not very stream lined -- they heard a lost those arguments and they said, you know what we aren't comfortable. aboubut he know what this belon? it belongs in the united states senate, it belongs in the house of representatives, it belongs to congress because congress has the obstacles of regulating regg interstate commerce the and so here we're. her we are almost 20 years later -- over 20 years later since the court case was decided, still debating this issue. and this issue has grown tremendously because of the explosion of internet sales. remote sellers are getting bigger and our main street
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businesses continue to suffer. continue to struggle. you're going to hear a lot today about how this bill discriminates. you're going to hear a lot about how it's not fair. you're going to hear about how it affects small business and every time you hear that act, i want you just, members of this body, to think, just for a moment that you are that one woman with the wallpaper books, or you're the small drugstore trying to sell candles to supplement the prescription drug business that you have. you're that small business, and what you see is you see that you have burdens of collecting this sales tax and you're building your community. your bulletin -- you take out a little ad in your school newspaper to help the school newspaper, or maybe you put an ad on the score board down at the high school and maybe you when they come around and ask for a little money for the fire hall, you chip in.
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and you're building community and you're there and employing people there and you're wondering why this government can authorize and approve discrimination against you, why you have to fight so hard. and you're going to hear a lot today about small businesses that operate on the margin, right? you know, retail has got a small margin. exactly. that's exactly the point. because that small margin, it's just as small for that main street business but they've got a 5% disadvantage. and so today and tomorrow we're going to hear a lot about this bill, and i know feelings are running fairly high for people who oppose it. but when you hear discrimination and you hear that this is not the role of this body to take this on, understand this: it's exactly the role of this body. it is exactly the obligation that we have to level the playing field, to make things fair, to respond to the needs of our community, and that's why we're fighting so hard an
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working so hard on this bill. and i think we're going to get it done. and let's just think for a moment. we've taken a couple of votes. they've been pretty good, lop-sided votes for us. if we fail in moving this bill after it has such tremendous support, how do we do the tough stuff? how do we do the deficit reduction that we need to do? how do we do the tough stuff that comes here? let's do this. let's level the playing field. let's make this responsive to those main street businesses who every day struggle and are simply asking for justice. they're simply asking for equity. i yield the floor. mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. reid: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed wellcome. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i'm going to proceed on my leader time. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. mcconnell: as a result of the administration's poor planning, i would argue political motives, thousands of people were stuck on tarmacs over the last few days. the f.a.a.'s mismanagement of this issue is a source of bipartisan frustration. our goal here shouldn't to be score political points on the backs of weary travelers. it should be to fix the problem.
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look, the obama administration knew about the sequester for months, for months, yet it gave the traveling public and congress only three days' notice before implementing the furloughs that are now being blamed for these delays. the f.a.a. administrator testified before the commerce and appropriations committees last week but made no mention of the magnitude and impact of delays of these furloughs that were just right around the corner. it seems completely bluesable t- completely implausible to me when hthat he didn't mention thn he testified last week. this episode is a perfect illustration of why republicans sought to give the administration even greater flexibility to ensure they could prioritize essential services. one of the areas for which that
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flexibility was intended was air traffic control. the fact that the administration rejected it strongly suggests a political motive is at play here. i would also remind everyone that this flexibility was reflected by nearly every -- rejected by nearly every democrat in the u.s. senate and the president threatened to veto legislation that granted it holding it hostage to tax hikes instead. so here's what i would suggest at this point: we are where we are. the obama administration needs to direct the f.a.a. to review their current spending and use their existing flexibility to keep america moving as smoothly as possible. because ensuring the safe, efficient movement of the traveling public is a much higher priority than the administration's own travel, conferences, and consultants. not all government spend something created equally. and so this morning i'm calling on the obama administration and the f.a.a. to be smarter and more transparent about the
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sequester. now, that means prioritizing funding to ensure that flights are not needlessly delayed or canceled. if for some reason the president or f.a.a. don't believe they have the flexibility to address this issue, they should ask congress for the flexibility they need. until then, however, they should use the flexibility we all know they do have to ease the burden on passengers. but let's be clear: we wouldn't even be in this situation if the administration hadn't rejected the flexibility we offered them months ago, or if they'd done the planning they needed to do in the first place. there is no good reason for these delays. now, mr. president, on another matter, this week the senate is debating a bill that would authorize states to require
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retailers to collect taxes on remote sales. i recognize that there are a range of views on this bill, and these views don't break along partisan lines. nor do they really follow along traditional ideological lines. speaking for myself, however, i intend to oppose the bill and here's why. for me, the issue boils down dot fact that the legislation we're considering would create an enormous compliance burden for a lot of small businesses out there, making them tax collect collectors for thousands of faraway jurisdiction. this legislation would increase the tax bud on kentuckyians. as i've said before, i don't think the people of kentucky sent me here to help them pay higher taxes. brick-and-mortar companies complain about the inequity that exists in current law, where their customers have to pay taxes that online shoppers do not. and frankly that's a legitimate
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concern. but by imposing this new internet tax, states would suddenly be empowered to force online retailers to small comply with all the different tax codes of all the states in which their customers reside, and that is no small feat. from what i'm told, there are nearly 10,000 state, local, and municipal tax codes nationwide. while complying with so many codes may not be a big deal for large online retailers, it is a huge burden for the little guys. so small business owners are worried, and justifiablably so many of i know they are in kentucky because so many quiet keep writing to share their concerns with meevment -- with me. one small business lamented that "small online business owners had been silenced and pushed to the side in this debate as larger companies press for the changes to take effect as
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quickly as possible. "the simple matter of the factor he said, is that any business with fewer than 100 employees would be completely overwhelmed by applying, kernings updating and reporting sales tax for every state and tax zone in the united states." pretty hard to argue with that. moreover, this is a bill that once again, as happens all too often in the senate, hasn't been run threw a committee, hasn't been properly vetted and hasn't yet had the kings worked out. it's not like there aren't other things that can be done to improve tax compliance from online shop others, things that don't require us to turn private businesses into tax collectors for remote state governments. most states impose a use tax which requires taxpayers to report how much they've purchased on the internet. individual states that are concerned about this issue could choose to enforce their own existing use tax deduction's taxes rather than expect the federal government to impose
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sweeping legislation to empower states to reach across borders to collect taxes. let's not forget the fact that the internet habes such an enormous source of innovation and convenience for our states, our country, and our economy. even in these tough economic times. that's largely because the government has kept its nose out and allowed innovation to flourish. so i won't be supporting this bill. if states decide they need this revenue they should keep in mind the tremendous burden of replacing the little guys who do so much to drive this economy. in my view, the federal government should be looking for ways to help, not hurt, these folks. let's be honest, the big guys can take care of themselves. let's not make it even harder for the smaller competitors. i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven:i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven:i come to the floor to commend senator heitkamp on giving her maiden address this morning. she is not only someone i've
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known for a long time and worked with for a long time, but somebody i think truly brings a spirit of bipartisanship to this body, which is so needed as we address the challenges today ranging from our debt and deficit to getting our economy going, getting people back to work; addressing things like terrorism and the heinous act that we saw, the attack on the marathon in boston and the great people of this great country; on immigration and on entitlement reform, protecting and preserving social security and medicare for the long term, progrowth tax reform, an energy plan for this country, making sure that we find ways to get our health care system working better, the finest health care system in the world. but all of these great issues of the day for this nation, i know that she brings a sense of bipartisanship and that desire
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to serve the people of this great country. it is an unbelievable honor to serve the people of north dakota and this country in this body. and i look forward to working with senator heitkamp and all of our colleagues on the challenges that we face and the opportunities we face in this country, the greatest country in the world. and as we work on behalf of the american people. but i do want to commend her for her dedication and her commitment, and i know her vision for a brighter future for this country. thank you so much, mr. president, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i ask consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thanks, mr. president. i know senator barrasso is coming after awhile, but until he comes i'd like to make a few comments about the marketplace fairness act, which is the legislation before us today, and especially to begin with senator heitkamp's address, the new senator from north dakota. it's a pretty rare thing that a new united states senator has a chance to come to the united states senate and in her first few months find us debating a bill that she brought when she was a state official in north dakota 20 years ago.
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and that shows why the senate is a good place for people with a little bit of experience, because she can bring to us exactly what we're talking about. her story about the small business people who are making a few dollars and have very small margin for profit and then who are discriminated against by out-of-state sellers who don't have to collect the tax that's already owed. that's a real story. and she made a remarkably good address, and i compliment her for that and welcome her to the senate. sometimes we launch into these complicated debates without saying what we're talking about. let me see if i can say in a few simple words exactly what we're talking about here. my wife gave me an ice cream freezer for my birthday last year. she got it from williams-sonoma.
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it's not one of those freezers you have to crank, the kind i did when i was a kid and you eat the ice cream and it makes your head hurt because you eat it too fast. this is a modern ice cream freezer. you mix the stuff up, put it in and after awhile here comes the ice cream. then i discovered that williams-sonoma also sells a mix that you can order, and that makes it even easier. so i ordered the mix. williams-sonoma has stores in tennessee, but i order mine online. and so i looked up the catalog number. i don't do this very much, so i'm not the best online purchaser who is around. looked up the catalog number, punched a few buttons on my computer, and i ordered my ice cream ingredients. it asked for my name and address and the information on my credit
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card. and with that information, two things happened. i ordered the ingredients, and they arrived within a few days. but williams-sonoma through the internet determined from my zip code what the sales tax is in tennessee and in my home county and will remit it electronically to the state of tennessee. that's what we're talking about. figure to this williams-sonoma store in nashville and i buy the ice cream freezer and ingredients, they add a 10% sales tax to it. ten percent. if i order it online from williams-sonoma, they add the 10% too because i put my zip code in, and the way software is today it's very simple to find out what the tax is in any jurisdiction. any jurisdiction. it's as easy as finding out weather. if i want to know the weather in
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merryville, tennessee, i put the weather 37205. that's my zip code. i find out the weather. williams-sonoma can find out the tax i owe on ice cream ingredients that way. the williams-sonoma store in nashville collects the tax. they have to do it by law, part of their responsibility in the state of tennessee. the williams-sonoma online collects the tax because they have stores in tennessee. but lots of other out-of-state sellers do not collect the tax that's already owed. it's owed, mr. president. it said that there is a new tax here. i don't know if everybody got that. they must not have read the bill carefully. the united states congress can't change the sales tax in tennessee. we can't impose it. we can't lower it. we can't raise it. that's under the sovereign state of tennessee's responsibility. and this bill has nothing to do with the federal tax code.
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caterpillars have as much to do with the federal tax code as this bill does. so it has nothing to do with taxes. this bill has to do with two words twaorbgs words and two words -- two words, and two words alone. states right or substitute that with tenth amendment. do we believe here in the united states senate that the governor of tennessee or of massachusetts or of kentucky or wyoming or anywhere else has to come here and play "mother may i" to ask permission to decide what the tax policy ought to be in tennessee, the state tax policy? now, tennessee imposes its own state sales tax. that's its decision. we do not have a state income tax. that is tennessee's decision. some states do. states have the right to be right. states have the right to be wrong. that came with our constitutional framework.
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we ignore it all the time. a lot of senators fly to washington and somehow get the idea -- if they can get through the delay on the tarmac that, this one-hour flight makes them smarter. it doesn't make us smarter. in fact, we ought to leave to states the responsibilities states are supposed to have, whether it's in education, health care or any other, but certainly in matters of state tax policy. we shouldn't be trying to tell tennessee or massachusetts or anybody else what their taxes ought to be. what we're doing with this bill is we are doing what the supreme court said we are the best persons to do. that's what senator heitkamp said a little while ago. we are the ones to write the rules to say states, of course, may decide whether they want to collect the state sales tax and use tax from all the people who owe it or some of the people who owe it. that's what the issue is.
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the tennessee legislature, let's say we passed the marketplace fairness act, says tennessee can make its own decision about how it collects its sales tax and use tax. tennessee could decide that it wants to discriminate against the national boot company that sells boots out the front door and collects the sales tax and sends it to the state. let's discriminate against national boot company and tell the out-of-state seller of boots you don't have to do that. or the state may decide as i'm sure it will because the lieutenant governor, the legislators told me they will. we don't pick and choose between winners and losers. we don't pick and choose between taxpayers. we don't pick and choose between businesses. we want a level playing field. we want a level playing field. so we're going to say to the out-of-state seller, the category online, whatever it is, welcome. but you can sell in tennessee if
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you play by the same rules that people who live in tennessee do. that's all you have to do. so the states are going to require the national boot company, the williams-sonoma store, service station is going to require the seller to do the same thing. if the out-of-state seller doesn't want to do it, doesn't have to. nobody is requiring people to sell this stuff in tennessee. it's a free country. it's a big country. it's a big market. we produce 25% of all the money in the world. if you don't like tennessee's rules, as long as they fit the constitutional framework and not imposing a burden on interstate commerce, you don't have to sell in tennessee. we hope you will. if it's as easy for you to collect the tax as it is to find out the weather in your hometown, we don't know why you wouldn't. and we don't know why you would even expect that you'd be treated better than somebody who lives in tennessee and goes to
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work in tennessee and pays taxes in tennessee and collects taxes in tennessee. we'll treat you as well as we do the local folks but we're not going to treat you better and put you at advantage with our hometown businesses. that's what this is about and that's all it's about. let's make clear what this is not. not a tax. it's about taxes already owed. taxes already owed. not a federal tax. state taxes already owed. sales taxes and use taxes, that's all we're talking about. are we telling any state they must do this or must do that? no. we're saying to states we're simply affirming the spirit of the 10th amendment, which says you have the right to decide for yourself, mr. governor, ms. legislator, what your state tax structure ought to be. up to you if you want to just have some people pay the sales taxes and use taxes that are owed and other people not pay
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them, that's up to you too. that's your business. but this is a states' rights 10th amendment decision that leaves to the state this ability. i wanted to talk mostly about what we're talking about. we're talking about what happens when you buy something online from a catalog and the local store, and making sure that states are able if they wish to treat all businesses in the same way. now, that's why so many conservative leaders, as they have understood this bill, have come to support it. this is a rarity in the united states senate. this is an 11-page bill. some people say it's been rushed up. i would like to respectfully disagree with that. this legislation was introduced beginning in 2001. it was introduced in almost
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exactly the same form in 2011. it had a full hearing in the united states senate commerce committee in 2011 in almost the same form of the 11-page bill that is before us today. exactly this exactly this bill was filed on february 14, 2013, so everyone -- everyone -- has had plenty of time to read it. -- since february 14. so this is a bill that's been here for a long time, and the reason it's before us and hasn't come through the finance committee is because the finance committee simply wouldn't -- wouldn't report it, wouldn't hear it, act on it and report it. so now we're here. we have a chance to amend it. the majority leader has said there will be amendments. it would be my hope that senators would come to the floor with their amendments as early as this afternoon.
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i would hope senators would want to keep amendments aimed at the subject of the debate, the marketplace fairness debate. there are many issues that have been raised. let's bring them up. let's debate them. let's vote on them. that's what we do what we're acting properly in the united states -- the united states senate. i mentioned some of the conservative leaders who have -- who have talked about this. william f. buckley before he died talked about the unfairness of treating in-state sellers one way and out-of-state sellers another way. another leading advocate for the idea of marketplace fairness is al carden. a, chairman of the union. former governor jeb bush, former governor mitch daniels. leading conservatives in the
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republican side have all said, if congress doesn't act, it freezes into place a system that picks and chooses among winners and losers, that treats one taxpayer one way and one business another way. that's not good principle. that's not good conservative principle at all. so that's why so many of the republican governors, the republican leaders -- art laffer, president reagan's favorite economist, a distinguished writer, wrote in "the wall street journal" last week that it would actually help economic growth if states were permitted to collect taxes from all of the people who owe it rather than some of the people who owe it. mr. laffer said -- and i paraphrase -- that the best tax policy is one when there has to be a tax, that taxes the largest
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number of people at the lowest possible rate. the governor of tennessee be, the governor of idaho, many of the governors have said, if we have the opportunity to collect the taxes from everybody who already owes them, we have in mind a tax rate we'd like to lower. we'd like to have a lower sales tax in ten taxpayer. we don't like a 10% tax rate. but one reason we have it is because some people don't pay it, even though they owe t the reason they don't pay it is because out-of-state sellers, many of them don't collect it as others -- as others will do. so i think that's a summary of the legislation before us. it's about states' rights. it's an 11-page women o bill. it has been before the senate for months. utah idea has been beforthe idee
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matter for years. it doesn't seem to tell any state to do anything. new hampshire doesn't have a sales tax. after this law is passed, new hampshire citizens won't have to pay a sales tax. if a new hampshire company or a michigan company sells in tennessee, they'll have to collect the tax and send to the state government. or not sell. but unlike 20 years ago, that's pretty easy today. as i've said, it is as easy as putting your zip code in and finding out the weather. you can compute the tax the same way i found out what my ice cream ingredients from williams-sonoma cost and what the tax was and in the same way i paid that tax. so, mr. president, i look forward to the debate. i hope we can enact this. we've had two good votes. one of 74 votes, one of -- one of 75 votes.
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a majority of democrats supported each vote. a majority of republicans supported each vote. there is important support in the house of representatives. this is an important piece of states' right legislation. it is part of our job to simplify things and not to require states to play "mother may i" about what their tax structures out to be. mr. president, if i may, seeing no other senator here, i'd like to turn to another matter. in his biography of thomas jefferson, john meacham writes that jefferson liked to fish. jefferson had a favorite spot, meacham writes, below the old dam on the river. thomas jefferson would be pleased that americans have followed his example. we have 900,000 tennesseans who
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bought fishing licenses last year. and they like to fish below the dams because they know that's where the fishing is sometimes the best. and that, mr. president, is why there is such an uproar in tennessee and in kentucky and from fishingmen from all over the country about the unreasonable object city nance of the united states army corps of engineers in seeking to put up physical barriers to fishing below the 10 dams on the cumberland river. the flooding season is upon us and we all remember the terrific job they did the year before when we had such serious floods along the mississippi. we are grateful to them forment that but for whatever reason the corps is rejecting every reasonable proposal from the states of tennessee and kentucky
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to say that let us work with you to ensure safety below the dams on the cumberland river that continues to allow fishing when it is safe an that allows us to attract the jobs in our area. senator corker, senator mcconnell, senator paul, congressman whitfield, congressman cooper, congressman black burn, we've all introduced legislation we call the freedom to fish act. i've met with everybody up -- i've met with every general and colonel i could find. i've even talked to the secretary of the army and said, what in the heck are you doing here? on these ten dams, ever since they've been built in the 1960's, people have been fishing there with their children, with their grandchildren, some of the most ardent fishermen are the retired arm army corps of engins people. and they come back and say, well, we have to ensure public saivment of course you have to ensure public safety.
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but there are various ways to do that. you don't have to put up physical barriers across the dam. so they're on path to take $2.6 million during a time of sequester that's needed for other projects and billing these monstrosities across the river below these ten -- below these ten dams. now, up to now, it's been mostly those of us in congress who've registered the complaints of the men and women who like to fish. i went to a rally at old hickory lake about a month ago. there were a lot of people there. they weren't from any particular party. hi would say there were tea party, environmentalists, retired mirnling men and women,f people want to keep pishing. then i went up to lake barkley with senator mcconnell, senator paul, congressman whitfield -- the same sort of thing there. the argument is it's u unsafe.
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of course it's unsaivment when we were up at lake barkley, of course it is unsafe when the water is spilling through the dam. that's about 20% of the time. 20% of the time rest of the time it is safe. restricting fishing below th das 100% of the time is like keeping the gate down across the railroad crossing. people expect drivers to have enough sense to stay off the track when the train is coming. the track not dangerous when the train is not coming and the water is not dangerous for fishing when it is not spilling through the dam. i mean, we don't -- one reason you are an outdoorsman in this country and the great american outdoors is bart o -- is part of
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the american ethic, you want to go outside and evaluate the risk. we don'we don't want a governmet makes it risk-free when we g.a.o. into the great american outdoors. now we havage additional voice that comes from the democratic side of the oil and more -- of the aisle and more importantly from the legal side of the the corps of engineers says, with you know, we have legal liability. here's an article in the "nashville tennessean" yesterday about the comments of jerry martin, the united states attorney for the middle district of tennessee, who retired last week. he was appointed by president obama, a leading democrat in the area. this is the u.s. attorney position that was first held by andrew jackson at one time. this is what the article said. "responding to the u.s. army corps of engineers' proposal to
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limit fishing on dams along the cumberland river and its tributaries in kentucky, jerry martin said that the corps's plans is not worth the effort. martin, who just weeksal would have been responsible for carrying out the corps's wishes said the tennessee valley authority siren system which goes off when water is released from the dams is enough to ensure public safety." "these waters implunge to the citizens," said martin, "who was appointed by president obama in 2010, in a prepared statement. in light of the tremendous protection from liability enjoyed by the corps, i don't think it's reasonable for the corps to ban everyone at all times from these public places." now, mr. president, i'm concluding my remarks because i see the senator from wyoming has arrived. the corps of engineers now has almost everybody in tennessee of any political stripe saying you're taking an unreasonable
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step. they have the wildlife agencies of tennessee and kentucky saying, we'd like to work with you to help do a better job of ensuring safety below the dams when the water is spilling through the dams, which is 20% of the time. we have the it enten valley authority with dams on the tennessee river makes the couple beerland look like a stream, and the t.v.a. allows fishing below the dams. it has sirens, it has signs, it has whistles, it assumes people are wise enough not to row up just below the dam when the water is spilling through it. just like you assume you're not wise enough if you put on a siren and have the red lights not to sit on a track when the train is coming. now the former lawyer, who would have been responsible for the army coarntion in a liability suit, say i don't think it is
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responsible for the corps to ban everyone at all times. i call on the united states coarchtion corps of engineers to recognize the voices of the people of our people all over the country who fish below these dams. and accept the offer of the two taits towork with the corps to develop a reasonable attitude, a reasonable way of inssuring public safety for fishing below the dams. that's our opinion. we'll pass law to make it happen if we have to, but given the statement especially of the retired u.s. attorney jerry martin who would have been the corps's lawyer in defending any lawsuit during this the coir needs to change it mind, act reasonably and spend the money on some more needed project. i thank the president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president.
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mr. president, recently the secretary of health and human services, kathleen is he biehl yurks gave a speech. it was a speech in which she said she didn't realize how complicated it would be to implement the president's health care law. she didn't attribute this to all the flaws that all of us know are in the law. the only problem that she could see was because she said of republican opposition. here's what one newspaper described, ""investors business daily"." "blaming g.o.p. for obamacare. requestings "the article goes through a list of problems with the law saying it and it continues to be unpopular, expensive, ill-conceived, and poorly written." democrats in congress and the administration don't seem to be interested in admitting that there are flaws in their law. they're onlied from in trying to make sure someone else takes the blame for their huge mistakes. so the question is are republicans opposed to this law?
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well of course we are, mr. president because it is a terrible law enforcement democrats know how much after law this mess is, too. some of them are even finally willing to admit it. last week the senate finance committee held a hearing on president obama's budget for the next fiscal year. secretary sebelius testified at that hearing. i want to read an article from the newspaper "the hill" about what happened. the article is entitled "baucus warns of huge train wreck in enacting obamacare provisions." huge train wreck. the article identifies senator baucus as -- quote -- "a key architect of the president's health care law and quotes him telling secretary sebelius 'i see a huge train wreck coming down.' he added 'you and i have discussed this many times, and i don't see any results yet.' . it quotes the senator saying -- quote -- "small businesses have no idea what to do, what to
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expect." i agree with senator baucus. businesses have no idea what to expect, and this health care law is a train wreck. so what does this mean in the real world? well, it's causing businesses to avoid hiring or to cut back hours. there are new headlines on this every day. here's what one said last week. nation's biggest movie theater chain cuts workweek blaming obamacare. regallon -- regal has movie theaters in 38 states. the company sent out a memo to its worker explaining why it had to cut the shifts. it said -- quote -- "to comply with the affordable care act, regal had to increase the health
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care budget. one manager said they had a wave of r.e.s. sig nations from -- resignations from managers. he said in the last couple of weeks managers have been quitting on a daily basis from various locations to try and find full-time work. went on to say that mandating businesses to offer health care under threat of debilitating fines doesn't fix a problem. it creates one. well, we already had 22 million people in this country who either can't find a job or can't find full-time work that they want. now we have even more hardworking americans whose hours are being cut because of the unreasonable burdens of the president's health care law. that's what this law does to jobs in america. that's what the coming health care train wreck looks like. here's another headline, this one from "the new york times" over the weekend. it's on page 1, and at the top
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of the page is the news about the capture of the second bomber. and at the bottom of that page 1, for millions, part-time work is full-time wait for a better job. part-time work is full-time wait for a better job. the article talks about exactly this problem of people who want full-time work, who want to work but cannot find full-time work. they can only find part-time work. the article specifically cites the health care law as a reason why so many people are having trouble. it quotes one economist saying there's another reason to believe that part-time employment will stay higher for longer. namely, the incentives to employ part-time workers created by obama's health care reforms. the article goes on to add confusion about the law and its requirements abound.
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that's the same point that senator baucus made. businesses don't know what to expect. people don't know what's going to happen, and it's hurting families and it's holding down our economy. again, that's what the health care train wreck looks like. the train wreck also means that health care law is going to be very hard on family finances. it's going to increase how much people have to spend for insurance care. a study by the society of actuaries says the cost for health claims will go up an average of 32%. 32% average increase across the country. those higher costs are going to be passed along to consumers. that means more money out of the pockets of hardworking people and that's going to be money that they can't afford to lose right now. we had another sign of a coming health care train wreck when president obama finally released his budget for the next fiscal year. of course it came in over two months late. that's later than any other president who is already in
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office at the beginning of a year. why did it take so long? president obama certainly didn't use the extra time to come up with any sort of a plan to stabilize the nation's finances. instead he continues to add to the debt burden of america's children and makes it harder for americans of all ages to achieve their dreams. deficits continue far into the future. the president also offered no real entitlement reform and no plan to grow america's stagnant economy. president obama is truly budgeting from behind. what's interesting about this budget, though, is it's not just how late it was. it's that it -- it isn't just what he says about what that says about the lack of leadership from the white house. what's also very interesting is what this budget says about the coming train wreck of the president's own health care law. the train wreck succombing not just because the -- the train wreck is coming not just because
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the health care law is unaffordable for families, it is unaffordable for taxpayers of this country. it fails to slow down washington spending, but it is also dishonest about how much of a budget buster his health care law will be. in fact, the administration has used a lot of smoke and mirrors to try to hide the true cost of the health care law. here's how the associated press put it. they ran an article titled "tracking obama's health law in budget isn't easy." the article points out that the president's budget includes no chapter, no table, not even a mention of what all of the new health care spending adds up to. this associated press article quotes bill hoagland, who is a senior vice president of the policy center. he says "i'm sure somebody has a spread sheet somewhere, but clearly they are not publishing it in the budget." the obama administration knows that if they spelled out exactly how much this law is costing,
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the american people would be outraged. so, do we know about -- what do we know about the cost of the health care law? we do know that the president wants almost $975 billion for the department of health and human services next year. it is a budget increase of over $100 billion just since last year, an 11.5% increase. the health care law was supposed to help slow down the growth in spending. instead it's using taxpayer dollars to fuel the fire, and it's powering us toward the coming train wreck faster than ever. part of the money would go to pay for 3,000 more washington bureaucrats at health and human services. that kind of increase in washington spending is not something that the american people need, and it's not anywhere close to what we as a nation can afford. in another part of the budget, it says that washington needs $32 billion to pay for what the
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administration calls premium assistance credits. those are the subsidies to help people pay for the new insurance they're going to have to get under the president's health care law. that's taking $32 billion from taxpayers to help hide -- to help hide, mr. president -- how unaffordable this health care law is for families. ten years from now the president says this $32 billion will grow to $118 billion a year. that's a train wreck. what else does the president want? he wants $772 million for administrative costs at the centers for medicare and medicaid services. that's going to pay for more than 4,600 bureaucrats. mr. president, when i talk to people about their health care concerns, nobody's ever told me -- and i'm a doctor, practiced for over two decades in wyoming, was home this weekend at a health fair, nobody's ever told me that the problem is that we don't have enough washington bureaucrats. never heard that, not even once.
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but that is what the people are going to get under the president's budget and health care law. costs going up instead of down, debt going up, not down, the washington bureaucracy getting bigger and bigger. that's a train wreck. the president's budget also asks for $440 million for the i.r.s. to administer the health care law. that's $440 million that the i.r.s. wouldn't need if democrats had not forced this law on the american people. the internal revenue service is going to need 1,954 more employees just to implement the health care law. not more doctors, not more nurses. 1,954 more i.r.s. employees. that's just the beginning of what the agency is going to be asking for in the next few years, mr. president.
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we're going to see an army of new i.r.s. agents and auditors to investigate the health insurance choices of americans and their families. the obama administration isn't worried about all of that power in the hands of those i.r.s. agents. it's not worried about how unaffordable the health care law is for taxpayers. the only thing that this administration seems to worry about is who's going to take the blame for the train wreck we all know is coming right around the corner. the president's health care law is bad for our economy, bad for consumers, it's bad for patients and it's bad for the health care providers of our nation. now the president's budget makes clear that this health care law is also very bad for hardworking american taxpayers. the people wanted real health care reform, mr. president, but washington democrats instead gave them a train wreck. thank you, mr. president.
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i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. a senator: i would ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 743, which the clerk will repo report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 41, s. 743, a bill to restore states' sovereign rights to enforce state and local sales and use tax laws, and for other purposes.
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mr. tester: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: mr. president, i'd like to speak on this bill that's called the marketplace fairness act that's anything -- that will do anything but damage the marketplace, in my opinion. this bill will impose new burdens on our small businesses. let me repeat that again. it will place new burdens on our small businesses. i've heard folks come to the floor and talk about how great this is going to be for small business. this is going to be terrible for small business. small business is going to have to bring on more people. this is going to be more bureaucracy, more accountants, more lawyers. this should be called the bill to employ more attorneys and more c.p.a.'s. and the fact is, i don't think the attorneys want this kind of work, nor do the c.p.a.'s want this kind of work, because what it's going to do, it will fundamentally alter the rights of states by allowing them to tax entities outside their borders. and who's put at risk at this?
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small businesses. if the small business screws up, by the way, they're the ones that are held harmless. we talk about this great, big, old database out there that these folks are going to be able to -- to dub into to determine whether -- what -- what single entity of the 9,600 cities and states and municipalities that collect sales tax is, and if the business gets it wrong, they're the ones that have the penalty. i'm going to tell ya that small businesses are not that profitable to be able to -- to be able to go through this kind of an exercise. montana, we're a little different -- in a little different situation. you know, in montana, our budget has a surplus because we've handled our money wisely. and montanans don't pay a sales tax. we don't have a sales tax and the people of the state of montana have twice voted against having one. but our budget continues to operate at a surplus without
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that sales tax. now we're going to have other states balance their budgets on the backs of montana's hardworking small businesses. it is wrong and, quite frankly, it's insulting. in fact, virginia, just right close here, have already counted these funds as a part of budgeting their plan for a new transportation plan. and i would just say that this -- this is really, really bad policy that i hope -- you know, i know what the cloture vote was yesterday, but i hope people take a look at this because this is not the direction this body should be going. at a bare minimum, we should send this bill to -- to committee and -- and let the finance committee deal with it. this has got some real problems. it's got real problems from an
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implementation standpoint. and if we go down this road, it is a very, very slippery slop tow go down. it's going to create more bureaucracy. it's going to create more burdens for small businesses. including new liabilities for incorrectly collecting the sales taxes, as i talked before. there are 9,00 -- let me say it again, there are 9,600 cities, states and municipalities that collect taxes. the list goes on and on and on. it also leaves questions unanswered about how this -- how this could impose new taxes on financial transactions in 401(k) plans. it's bad policy. what businesses -- what businesses will out-of-state tax collectors go after next? it's an aberration of states' rights, rights which so many in this chamber have supported.
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it is -- it is a situation, mr. president, where we're -- we're going down a road that, quite frankly, we've not gone down before from a states' rights standpoint. and if we do this, i think it opens a pandora's box, so to speak, as to new rules, new laws that potentially come down using this as a basis for it. as i've said before, i -- i empathize with the situation of states that have had their budgets underwater, but they ought not be looking at other states' small businesses, in this case, montana's small businesses, to get their budgets in balance. i would urge my colleagues to vote against this bill. it would gut states' rights. it would impose new tax burdens on small businesses and middle-class americans. quite frankly, mr. president, this is bad policy and we
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shouldn't be passing bad policy around here. i thank the president and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: mr. president, i ask that the proceedings under the quorum be dispensed with. i have 12 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. warner: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today in support of the legislation that is on the floor in support of marketplace fairness act. i rise on this as somebody who
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spent 20 years in the technology business, helping to fund and develop online businesses understand the importance they play to our economy, and applaud the enormous growth of internet-based businesses. but i also rise in support of this legislation because in addition to being a technology investor, i also was a governor and know the importance that sales tax plays in funding of so many critical state and local functions. and, unfortunately, right now under the current circumstances, we have an uneven playing field. because local small businesses oftentimes bricks and mortar follow the law and collect sales taxes from customers who make purchases in their stores. well, on the other hand, many large online businesses that may
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be located in some other state do not collect the same sales taxes. i think on this floor already we've heard repeated stories of even some online retailers who even encourage people to go to the bricks and mortar store, look and go out and price a product, and then come back and go online and purchase that product. not only does that discriminate against the bricks and mortar star, but from a public policy standpoint, if those sales taxes are not collected, creates an unlevel playing field between the online vendor and the bricks and mortar store. this legislation will help level the playing field. it's about fairness. it's about having a level playing field for all types of retail outlets. and let me make clear all it simply does is require every business to collect and remit an already legal sales tax that has been put in place at a state or
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local level. because of this unequal playing field, because of current circumstances, because there has been a failure amongst many of our online vendors to collect these sales taxes, this creates a direct and immediate impact on state and local governments. as a former governor, i can tell you that the inability of states and localities to gather uncollected revenues undermines dramatically their ability to invest in k-1 education, police arrested and mire prevention, public safety, environmental causes, you name it; all of the basic core services that state and local governments perform, so many of them are directly funded in a major way by local or state sales taxes. i'd also like to mention how important this bill is to the commonwealth of virginia.
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most recently here in the commonwealth, virginia's leadership, with a republican governor and a bipartisan legislature, finally enacted legislation to make significant investments in our outdated and overstressed transportation network. many of the folks who work here on the hill or those of my colleagues who happen to live in virginia know the traffic in northern virginia is at an almost debilitating basis. we have finally in virginia passed a funding source to try to address the transportation needs of virginia. part of the solution, though, anticipates revenue from this legislation. if we're going to be able to solve the transportation crisis that confronts not just northern virginia but all of virginia, virginia's got to have the ability to collect all of its sales tax revenue. and this is a large amount.
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the current, an uncollected amount of sales tax revenue in virginia is estimated to be $422 million over the past year. and that number is going to continue to increase as more and more vendors go online. nationally the amount is a staggering $23 billion. again, as i mentioned earlier, at a time when our states and municipalities are struggling to maintain essential core services or government, i think it is irresponsible for us at a congressional level to in effect interfere or not allow these states and localities to collect sales taxes that they have put in place that are collected from vendors who are in their communities but not certain vendors who operate online. i'd like to take a moment, mr. president, also to address a
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couple of the concerns that i've heard from my tech community in virginia. and i say there are ways to improve this bill, and i am grateful that the northern virginia technology community is generally supportive of this legislation. they have raised some concerns, concerns that i'd like to address. first, there is discussion about the small seller exemption. the current legislation says that those small sellers online that have less than $1 million in sales will be exempted from this regulation. it's important that a start-up business gets going online, that we don't put undue bureaucratic and other restrictions in place. there have been some suggestions that exemption is too small. i think perhaps looking at a slightly higher number may make some sense. but there have been some who suggested that we would take this number all the way up to $15 million. i have to tell you, i believe
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taking a small seller exemption up to $15 million a year in revenues would dramatically undermine this legislation and dramatically cut back the $422 million that virginia left on the table, and the $23 billion that is estimated to be left nationally. yes, we could look at something a little larger than $1 million but to go up to $15 million would be much too high. second, i think there have been reasonable questions about how to make sure where are we going to create an audit trail and where are we going to allow those vendors to remit back not to the literally hundreds of jurisdictions that collect these kind of taxes but to be able to simply remit to a single point of contact. i think the legislation moves forward in this direction. i again would look at other opportunities. on the issues of remittance, the legislation does put in place a requirement that every state would have a single point of remittance, which i think
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strikes that right kind of balance that is needed to not create an undue burden. on the question of audits, i think there could be more work that could be done. i believe there's an analogy here to the telecommunications industry which i used to be part of in the early days of the cell phone industry there were clearinghouses that were allowed to in effect be the settlement agencies between a variety of competing cell phone systems when you were charged -- were charged rooming charges. -- roaming charge. i think we could make sure in a look-back basis there is an ability to have a single point of audit so that those vendors, particularly small vendors, make sure they get a fair shake. finally, i think we need to make sure that it's particularly for these smaller vendors, we do all we can to make it easy for them to comply with the law. i'm pleased that this legislation requires states to make available at no cost to
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retailers software, common software that will basically calculate the state and local sales tax requirements for any of these online vendors as well as kind of build in some of the administrative services. i think this is an important step to make sure that we continue to allow the entrepreneurial spirit to grow online as well as in the local community. again, i think it is terribly important to remember that all we're doing in this legislation is making sure that there is a process in place to collect sales taxes that are already due. two final comments, mr. president, before i yield the floor. during the course of this debate, some opponents of the marketplace fairness act have made statements about what this bill might possibly do that i don't think is reflected in the legislation. among those claims, there is a claim that this is the bill -- this bill is the first step towards a state or local
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transaction tax on the purchase of stocks or derivative contracts. i have reviewed this legislation closely. there is nothing in this legislation that would make it be the first step on a slippery slope towards a transaction tax. there is nothing in this bill that would prohibit that kind of tax. states already have that ability. this legislation will do nothing to take a step towards that. so i think that claim that is being made by some is not accurate and does not reflect the legislation. finally, mr. president, this legislation comes about because it the beginning of the development of online sales there was a belief, perhaps accurate at that moment in time, that this growing industry of online retailers needed an extra little benefit, an extra little head start, an ability to have this industry not be squashed at its outset.
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i think history has shown, as we've seen the growth of retail sales online go up dramatically faster than the growth of retail sales in bricks and mortar, that whatever needed boost, the online industry might have needed at some point, that they now have become an extraordinarily important and successful part of our economy. i commend all those and many of those companies i had the ability to help fund when i was in the private sector. i welcome their success. online businesses continue to be one of the areas for most entrepreneurial activity. i commend those efforts. but i do believe in 2013 we don't need to perpetuate what has become at this point an unlevel playing field. i believe the marketplace fairness act will correct that unfairness, correct that unlevel playing field. i was pleased to see the overwhelming bipartisan majority that voted to invoke cloture. i hope this week we'll be able
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to finish considering this bill, get it passed and get it sent over to the house. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to lift the quorum call and address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona, without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, there's been a great deal of misunderstanding about the position that the senator from south carolina and i and others have taken on the detention and interrogation of the suspect in the boston bombing. none of us is saying that the suspect should be indefinitely detained as an enemy combatant by the u.s. military or tried in a militarybu
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